Car-Free Musings

Robin has been working in Bowling Green KY and coming home for the weekends.  For reasons I won’t go into here, she is working today, Saturday, and staying the weekend.  I made a last-minute decision to join her for the weekend.

I rented a car, which by the way, if you don’t have a credit card, it’s a little more hassle.  I don’t have car insurance anymore, so I also paid extra for the insurance from the rental place.

I drove down after work yesterday.  Driving (mostly) the speed limit, I got here in about two hours.

I know I said I was “off the bike”, but that’s only partially true.  I’ve ridden to work once this past week.  The only bike riding I’m doing is transportation related.

I’ve ridden the bus some, and I don’t like it.  My bus route is rather crowded.  I’ve car-pooled with a co-worker, and Robin has taken me to work a couple of times when she was home during the week.  I’ve even considered walking to work.  I have walked home from downtown, but it wasn’t a work day, and I wasn’t carrying a laptop.

I’m still waiting to know the long-term plan for my neck issue.  I may end up riding the bikes as they are, stick to recumbents only, or go with higher handlebars on my existing bikes.  It’s too early to know right now.

Goodbye 2011. What’s In Store Now?

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  When it’s time for a change, you should work at it immediately.  I do, however, believe in looking back at things.  I’m looking back at 2011.

Bike Miles

I rode 5502.9 miles in 2011.  That’s more than 400 miles over 2010’s 5087.2.  By comparison, 2009 was only 3860 miles.  November 2011 was a new personal record month.  I had 697.7 miles.  December is my best December yet, but nothing exceptional at 444.9 miles.

I hope to surpass 6000 miles in 2012, and have a one-month best of 750 miles.

Car-Free

I sold my truck and became car-free on November 4th.  I’m still adjusting to living without a car, but it’s not a difficult adjustment after living most of the year as if I were already car-free.

Bikes

I bought the Big Dummy as my car truck replacement once I knew I actually would sell the truck.  I still have some fit issues to get dialed in, but the bike has been great at hauling things (and people!).

I’ve spent a lot of money on bikes this year.  In addition to buying the Big Dummy, I bought a SON dynohub and lighting system for the LHT in April.  I later moved the wheel and lights to the single-speed.

In March, I bought a used kid-trailer as an affordable cargo hauler.  I haven’t used it since buying the Big Dummy, but it could be useful to tow it with the Big Dummy if I really need to haul a lot.

In December I bought new wheels (including Shimano dynohub) for the LHT.  I also bought new brakes.  Now, January 1st, the bike is still partially assembled in my kitchen.

Health

2011 has been a challenging year due to health issues.

In June I had a horrible neck pain problem.  It kept me off the bike briefly.  It made me miss some longer pleasure rides that I wanted to do.  With some treatment and strength training it was resolved to the point that I can function normally, but it never went away.

In September I was hospitalized due to a bowel obstruction.  Luckily it resolved without surgery, but it was scary.  I only missed one important ride, and had no lasting effects.

On the day after Christmas my neck issue returned.  I’m still struggling with it, and I see myself riding the recumbent more often now.  I wasn’t car-free last time, so my options are a bit more limited now.

The various doctor visits may have actually added to my overall mileage for the year.  I had doctor visits in New Albany and east of Lyndon that took me a bit farther for transportation cycling than I normally go.

Weight

Ah, the elephant in the room.  First let’s look at my monthly average weight since I started tracking it in 10/2007.  Up until July 2009, things look great, then a bit of a bump, lost again, then steady increase since March 2010.

Now let’s look at the same values beginning January 2009.  You’ll notice that most of it is between 200 and 220lbs.  That changes when it goes above 230 in July 2011.  It stays above 230 until the last two month of the year.

It’s a little bit depressing, but not all that surprising.  I’ve been treating myself to good food and beer as if I don’t have a weight problem.  I not going to give these things up, but I need to make better decisions on how much and how often to consume these things.

2011 was not a good year for weight loss.  I ended the year 13lbs heavier than I started it.  Ugh.  As Tim would say, I have an “intake valve problem”.

Exercise

Other than cycling I’ve done little exercising.  I had my push-up plan back in 2008 that I abandoned after suffer shoulder pain.  I’m supposed to be using some dumbbells to strengthen my upper body to help with the neck and shoulder issues, but I’ve not been using them as much as I should.

I was training for a triathlon early in the year, but ditched that after suffering problems in the swim portion of the training.  I did not enjoy the running, but I was capable of performing what was needed.

I did race my first bicycle race in November, the Gravel Grovel.  I met my goal of less that 6.5 hrs (just over 6 hours).

My biggest problem right now, is that my most common exercise other than cycling is the 12 ounce lift (lifting the beer to my lips).

Relationships

Okay, where to begin?

When I started this blog in November of 2007, my 13-year marriage was ending.  I didn’t talk about it publicly for months, but it was happening.

I married Kristy in 2009.  It was a much different marriage than the first, but didn’t work out for much different reasons.  We are now officially divorced.

Interesting tidbit.  I met an interesting woman, Robin, a few days ago.  My desires in a relationship are a bit different now.  I’m not ready to rush in to living together or marriage (eek!  I said the M word!), but she lives nearby (walking distance, no bike even needed!) and we have some common interests.  We rang in the new year together.  I’m not going to talk much more about her for the time being.

2012

Most goals stay the same.  Goal weight of 175lbs.  Stay sane.  Be happy.

Some goals have changed.  Ride 6000 miles for the year.  Ride 750 miles or more in at least one month.  Save more money.

All of this is for nothing if the Mayans were right.

Happy New Year everyone!

Bikes, Beer, Blahs, and the Weekend

I have to keep reminding myself of my unhealthy relationship with food.  I haven’t been great about my new rules.

On Friday, some co-workers were getting together to go out for food and beer.  I was invited, and social occasions are allowed per my self-imposed rules.  The fact I had an overly-large lunch earlier wasn’t good, but whatever.

I had a beer called “Morning Wood”, and I even shared my “Morning Wood”.  I made a (probably annoying) comment about the bike rack being free when others were complaining about parking meters.

I slept in Saturday.  I went out for a ride with Tim.  I got about 23 miles in.  I ate leftover split-pea soup.  I hadn’t gone grocery shopping.  I really wanted to go out for food and beer.  I successfully suppressed those urges.

I got up early today, Sunday, to meet Tim, Patrick, and Asher for a ride today.  I left before sunrise in the cold air.  It was a good ride, mostly urban.  Nothing epic, just four guys riding around.  I did have some snacks at coffee shops, but nothing extreme.  I ended the day with over 46 miles.

Again, later in the day I was really wanting to go out for food and beer.  I still haven’t gone grocery shopping.  I’m cooking a simple peas and rice dish that I actually have the stuff to make.  I’m not going back out, because if I do, I’ll find myself gorged on food and sloshing full of beer.

I’m slightly depressed because I know I shouldn’t go out to eat and drink.  Adding to that is the fact that I don’t like the way I feel about it.  I didn’t have this much trouble controlling my eating and drinking three and four years ago.  Why now?

I am killing time and forgetting about food for a while by burying myself in reading.  I’m currently reading Spin, which I highly recommend, at least if you’re into science fiction.

 

Transmission Trouble

Old Camaro
Old Camaro

My poor LHT sat in the kitchen with the wheels off for a couple of weeks, like a Camaro next to a double-wide.

As I mentioned yesterday, I worked on it last night, and it’s rideable again.  I’m having issues with the transmission.  On a car that spells an expensive fix.  Technically, you can get a very expensive bicycle transmission, but I’ll leave that to others.

My transmission issues center around my front derailleur.  Normally it’s a simple thing to shift to one of the three front chain rings.  Lately, I haven’t been able to get it to shift into the smallest, leaving me without my “steep hill climbing gears”.  Even racing Gravel Grovel, I had some issues, but was usually able to get the shift to happen after several attempts.

Usually this issue can be fixed with some simple adjustments.  That wasn’t the case this time.  The derailleur wouldn’t move far enough inward, even when disconnecting the cable and the limit screw made no difference.  Pushing the derailleur inward with my finger will make it go far enough.

Problematic derailleur and worn chain rings
Problematic derailleur and worn chain rings

I assumed this was just mud, muck, and other crud mucking up the works.  I cleaned everything the best I could and re-lubed.  It made no difference.  I stopped at OYLC on the way home from work today confident that they could fix it.  Even after soaking the derailleur in a cleaner it didn’t function properly.  Okay, the new one is on order and I’ll have it next week.

I have a gravel ride coming up on Sunday.  I guess if I really need the “climbing gears” I’ll be stopping and pushing the derailleur with my finger again.  It’s either that or scavenging parts off of one of my other bikes.

I went grocery shopping on Saturday.  I bought quite a bit of stuff (including beer!).  I hauled it all on the Big Dummy from several miles away.  I often go to Kroger which is less than a mile away, but I prefer the ValuMarket at Mid-City Mall.  I escaped the madness just as a beer festival that I didn’t know about was beginning.  I bought more than I intended and load it all so that nothing fell off was a challenge, but I like challenges.

Candy is checking out my groceries
Candy is checking out my groceries

I made it home without losing the load.  In addition to the six-pack strapped to the deck, there’s another (Schlafly Coffee Stout) in the bag.

I could have hauled more if I had used the wideloaders, but that’s all I needed this time around.

Rainy Errand Day and SOUP!

I like to post pictures when I write, but my indoor activities weren’t interesting enough to photograph.  I wasn’t going to take my camera out in the rain, so no pictures today.

While grocery shopping yesterday I bought some cornmeal.  It has been years since I’d had cornmeal mush for breakfast.  Well, that’s what I did today.  I probably added a bit too much sugar, but it was good.

I also rode the Big Dummy out to Lyndon to pick up the rear wheel for the recumbent.  Tom had fixed a broken spoke for me.  I also needed to return the tires that I had borrowed from Patrick.  He lives even further out in the Goose Creek area.

If I would have gotten up early, I could have done all of this before it rained.  I slept in and had a relaxing late morning with my cornmeal mush, so it began raining as I headed out.

I had no issues, even on the busy roads, getting to Tom’s place.  We chatted briefly, and I left with my wheel.  The ride to Patrick’s place was a bit worse.  The bike lane on Westport Rd ends after a while, so I took the right lane.  That seemed to anger three different fellow road-users.

I ended up spending a bit longer at Patrick’s place.  It was nice to warm up and talk bikes for a while.

It was getting dark when I left and headed for home.  Strangely, I had no issues with drivers on the return trip.  Maybe they felt sorry for the cold, wet, crazy guy on the bike.

Once I arrived home I began cooking dinner: Split-pea soup!  I hadn’t made it in years, and I always stuck with a really basic recipe.  With some guidance online, I added ham, onions, carrots, potatoes, fresh marjoram, and even spinach.

Soup is an excellent food to warm up with after 27 cold, wet miles on the bike.  The two bottles of beer I had with dinner were nice too.

I have enough leftover soup for several more meals.  Tomorrow’s lunch is ready!

Since I have my recumbent’s rear wheel fixed, I reinstalled the tire and have the bike ready to go.  I’m planning on commuting on it for most of the coming week.  I’m riding it again because it’s a neat bike and I haven’t ridden it in a while, and my neck is flaring up again.

Good Enough

I’ve been pretty good about my eating.  I was trying for 700 bike miles for the month.  I’m fairly happy with my recent weight loss.

Today was Car-Free Happy Hour at Clifton Pizza.  I was unsure I even wanted to go, but I did go.

I’m glad I did.  Tom was there with his wife.  They had ridden a tandem recumbent.  I ate two pieces of pizza and had some beer.

I followed Tom to his house in Lyndon, then headed home.  I wasn’t sure exactly how many miles I needed to get 700 for the month.  I came up short.  I got a total of 697.7 miles for November.  It’ll do.  It’s still a new personal record.  I’m going to ease up a bit in December.  I need a break.

 

TARC on Google Maps

I met a guy a few months ago at the car-free happy hour who was assisting TARC with getting the necessary data to Google to allow public transportation as a mapping option for Louisville.

I saw on various websites that Google has pushed this out for the public.

My commute - by bus
My commute - by bus

This is much easier to use than there previous trip planner they had online.

I didn’t ride my bike to work today.  I was too sore from yesterday’s century.  I considered taking the bus, but the rainy weather this morning would have meant a crowded bus, and I wasn’t in the mood for that.  I called a cab.  It’s only the second time I’ve been in a cab, and the first time taking one to work.  I got a ride home from a co-worker who pretty much insisted that he take me home.  I was planning on taking the bus.

So, I congratulate Google, TARC, and the guy who’s name I can’t remember.  This will be handy getting to other destinations on days I just don’t feel like riding my bike.

Four Years?

Time flies.  I started this blog four years ago today.  November 11, 2007 was when I started documenting my weight loss effort.  I had actually started the effort in late October but took a little longer to get the blog moving.

What a strange trip it’s been.

It’s time for me to reflect where I’ve been and where I need to go.  I’ve gotten too used to “instant gratification” in everything.  I feel I “deserve” things that in the long-term are bad for me.  So I’ve gained weight.

This is more than eat less/ride more.  This is my relationship with food.

Looking back on old posts to write this has been illuminating and given me new incentive to work at this again.  The wedding pictures especially.  I was about 20lbs lighter then than I am now, and I looked quite a bit better.

So, I’m going to work harder and see where I am in another year.  I hope some of you hang out and enjoy the ride with me.

Car-Free

Goodbye truck
Goodbye truck

I sold my truck today.  I was expecting to be extremely happy, as I’ve been working toward this for a while.  In reality, I was a bit sad to see it go, and I’m a little worried about the future.

I first got a car when I was 16.  It was a $250 beater – a 1974 AMC Hornet.  I went through a lot of cars.  Cheap cars and hard use meant I was always buying another car.  I’ve (mostly) owned a car for a quarter century.  How much did that cost?

In the late 1990s I went without a car for a few weeks.  I walked about a mile to get to work.  I was offered a job 25 miles away, and bought another cheap car.

In April 2009 I went without a car for a couple of weeks when my old Kia finally died.  That’s when I bought the truck.  Living in Charlestown wasn’t really conducive to living without a car.  Now that I live in town and rarely drive, it was time.

My “trial” started right after leaving Carmax, where I sold the truck.  I had to ride on Hurstbourne Parkway for a short distance before heading west (north?) on Taylorsville Rd.  These are busy roads and it was dark.  I was riding the single-speed and have dyno-lights, plus a blinky.  I was also wearing a reflective vest.  I had surprisingly few issues.

I stopped at Za’s Pizza on the way home to celebrate.  Pizza is a much tastier fuel than gasoline.

I intend to be car-free for the rest of my life.  That may change, but it’s unlikely.  I’m not anti-car.  I’ll still rent one on occasion, once or twice a year, to travel to Michigan and visit family.

Pain In The Neck!

When falling off my bike into the mud on Sunday, I landed on my right shoulder.  My head (helmet) smacked the ground.  Although the soft muddy ground prevented me from bruising my shoulder, I hurt my neck.  I already have a cervical spine issue, and this made it worse.

Monday morning was bad.  I almost drove to work, but remembering that I’ll be without a motor vehicle very soon, took an alternate choice.  I rode the bus.

I don’t ride the bus often.  The 43 comes near my house and to downtown.  It’s usually quite crowded.  Monday was no exception.  I had to stand early in the ride because there were no seats available.  After a few stops, a seat opened, and I took it.

Many that I work with won’t take a bus ever, due to the other people on the bus.  I’ve never felt uncomfortable on the bus.  If something were to happen, I imagine the good people outnumber that bad by a large margin.

I planned on taking the bus home again, but Kristy came by my work place to talk about divorce things.  She paid for my dinner and drove me home.  Nice!

Tuesday, I was back on the bike.  I was still hurting, but the upright riding position of the Big Dummy was better than one of the drop-bar bikes.  I called my chiropractor to see about getting another appointment in.  She was able to see me that day after work.

I rode home after work and walked to the chiropractor’s office.  She did the adjustment, but said it was mostly muscular and that seeing my massage therapist would probably do more good.  I don’t have a massage appointment until next week.

Today, Wednesday, I woke up feeling much better.  I’m almost feeling like I was pre-crash.  I guess the adjustment did more good that she thought it would.

Bike Miles

I still have two months left in the year, but I’ve had four months with more than 500 miles each.  That’s better than I’ve done in previous years.

My overall mileage year-to-date is a bit lower than last year, but that’s due to my horrible June because of my neck.

I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve driven the truck to a ride for the last time.  It’s true.  It’ll be sold by Saturday.  I will be officially car-free.

I was car-free briefly in April 2009, but then I bought the truck.  I lived in Charlestown and the time, and the time and energy spent commuting that distance was more than I could handle.

Now, I live in town, and this car-free episode isn’t being forced on me.  The Kia needed a new engine, spurring that car-free stint.

Why Car-Free?

I’m not yet technically car-free, as I haven’t really even tried to sell my truck.  I also haven’t driven in several weeks.

People go car-free for a variety of reasons: environmental, financial, health issues, loss of license, never got a license, etc.

I don’t have a clearly defined reason.  I guess it started when I first started riding a bike in 2008.  At first I was scared of traffic.  I adjusted, but I also felt like I could kill someone anytime I got behind the wheel.  Even that feeling faded with time.  I’m confident in mixed traffic whether I’m riding a bike or driving a car.  The seed had been planted at that point, that living without a car could be done.

When I still lived 16 miles from work I wanted to ride my bike to work every day, but time constraints and exhaustion from a 33 to 40 miles round-trip, depending on route, every day was a bit much.  It was then I started thinking about moving into town.

I moved into town in September of 2010.  Since then, I have lived the car-free lifestyle, but had a car here at all times, two when Kristy was still here.

I enjoy the car-free lifestyle, but I always had a car quickly available.  I rarely had to put gas in the truck because I was rarely driving it, but I did drive it occasionally.

I can afford the keep the truck.  Hell, I could afford to start driving to work everyday and pay to park, but why would I?

I’m choosing to live car-free as a simple lifestyle choice.  Active transportation beats passive transportation.  My commute makes me feel better rather than worse.  I want to simplify my life and this is one step in that direction.  Even the weight loss has taken a back seat to the lifestyle choice.  That may be why I’m not losing weight right now.

What am I giving up?  Very little.  If I need a car to, say, drive to Michigan for example, I’ll rent one.  It’ll require a little more planning, but not much.  If I want to go to a group ride that is some distance away, I’ll have to either get a ride from someone else, or ride to the ride.  I’ve done both of those things in the last year.

I guess the biggest issue I’m going to face is the social aspects.  Those who don’t know me may think I got a DUI.  Dating will be problematic unless I find an understanding woman (which makes other things easier anyway).  I don’t want to be “that guy” who asks for a ride on every trip, so either I pay gas, or rent a car, and others chip in.

I’ve already learned how to handle traffic, weather, trip-planning, and a bit of bike maintenance.  Now I just need to sell the truck.

Good Monday

I normally loathe Mondays.  Today turned out good.  Tim and I have standing plans on Mondays to meet in the afternoon for cyclocross training.  My LHT is the only ‘cross-worthy bike, so I rode it to work this morning.

I had a light breakfast of a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk.  That’s mostly because I overslept and didn’t have time to cook bacon and eggs.

Work

I had a productive day at work.  Although my official duties are database related, I get pulled into various IT projects.  Today, I finished up a small Windows application to make deployment easier for one of our line-of-business applications.  Just a little thing, but it was nice to write software again, even on a small scale.

New Bike

I heard from Ian today.  We agreed upon a price and payment plan.  The Big Dummy is mine.  I’m getting the KickBack kickstand and wide loaders in the deal.  Now I truly have a pedal-powered pickup truck!

Cyclocross

After work I rode out to the park to meet with Tim.  We did a couple of easy laps around the course, then he started a faster lap.  I fell back, stopped and took a breather.  I really wasn’t feeling strong.  We then did a lap with me in the lead – running at my pace. It wasn’t much faster than an easy lap.

I’ve made up my mind that cyclocross is not for me.  I’ll continue to do these practices for fitness and fun, but I don’t want to race.

Tim gave me a ride part of the way back home.  I rode home from the Highlands.  I still rode 12.5 miles of commuting/errands and 12 miles of ‘cross practice.

Dinner

I go out to eat entirely too much.  I still haven’t been grocery shopping, but I had enough stuff to cook spaghetti, so that’s what I did.  I have no beer, but I need to avoid it for a while.  I had a filling meal, and have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Late Errand

My daughter works at a local drug store.  She called me to ask me to bring her something.  I hopped on the single-speed, went to the ATM, then the drug store, dropped off something for her, and bought some stuff for me.  The round-trip was only 2.5 miles.

What did I learn on my errand?  I learned my Acorn handlebar bag will fit two large bottles of supplements (glucosamine) and a 14oz tub of Haagen-Dazs ice cream.  So, dessert too!

More Saturday

I got an email from Michael, who I rode with on Saturday.  He passed along a couple of pictures of me.

The first is just me riding through the woods on my single-speed road bike.  Not the ideal bike for the terrain.

Action shot
Action shot

The second picture is hilarious.  We were at the nearly impassable stretch of the Riverwalk behind the golf course.  I had no idea he was taking pictures, but I needed to lift my bike to get through.

Upward and onward?
Upward and onward?

Exercise & Stretching

I’m doing my dumbbell exercises.  Even the 5lb stuff hurts after enough repetitions.  I have no upper body strength.

I’ve also noticed over the last few months that I hurt more.  My legs were so tight last night that any movement was painful.  I realized that somewhere over the last six or so months I quit stretching.

So, I spent about 30 minutes stretching my legs, back, and torso yesterday.  I’ll do it again tonight.  Hopefully I’ll notice a difference soon.

The Truck

The gasoline-powered cargo hauler (as opposed to the pedal-powered cargo hauler) is going up for sale this week.  I’m done using it now, I just need to find a buyer.  Then I’ll be officially car-free.

This Weekend

Tim, Michael, and I are heading to Red River Gorge (in Tim’s SUV) for two days of riding, and one night of camping.  It’ll be cool during the day, and cold at night.  I’ll be wearing as much wool as possible at night.  I hope there aren’t any burn-bans in effect this weekend.  We’ll really need a fire.

Either way, it’ll be a blast.  Much like the Big South Fork trip was last year.

Big Dummy

Hauling Pet Supplies
Hauling Pet Supplies
Since I will be living car-free very soon, I’ve been wanting a cargo bike, a Big Dummy in particular.  I have other bikes I want first, but the opportunity to try and possibly buy a used Big Dummy for a good price came up.

Ian contacted me about his BD.  I went to his house on Friday and picked up the bike.  The idea is a week-long test-ride while he’s on vacation.

After getting the bike back home, I adjusted the saddle and went for a ride.  I went out to Za’s for pizza and parked the bike “motorcycle-style” in the road.

Today, I went out to Feeder’s Supply for dog food and cat litter.  I put 55lbs of pet supplies in the rear bags of the BD and stopped at three different bars on the way home for food and beer.

There is a tiny bit of flex in the frame with that amount of weight.  I’ve already decided I want the bike.  I now just need to come up with the money.

Parked outside of Za's
Parked outside of Za's
Almost home - Zeppelin Cafe
Almost home - Zeppelin Cafe

Medical Miles

Monday was a bad day.  I had to be to work early, and I knew I’d work late.  I woke up late and drove to work… for the first time in months.  I’m glad I did, as I was at work until 8:30pm.  It did feel strange to not ride a bike on a workday.

I had an appointment with my family doctor on Tuesday morning.  It was a follow-up due to my hospital stay recently.  My family doctor is in New Albany.  Yes, I rode the bike.  There was really nothing to find as far as my intestinal problems that sent me to the hospital.  Things happen.  On the other hand, the CT scan I was given in the ER showed “something” on my liver.  The CT scan didn’t get a good enough picture of it to make a determination what “it” is.  My doctor ordered an MRI for a better image.

Anyway, I rode to work from the doctor’s office, then home later.  I had 29 miles on Tuesday, more than making up for my Monday driving.

Today, Wednesday, was my MRI appointment at Floyd Memorial, again in New Albany.  I rode my bike again.  I discovered that Floyd Memorial has a good-sized bike rack at the front entrance.  It’s your typical “wheel bender” type, but I just locked up next to it.  My bike was the only one there.

I wasn’t allowed anything to eat or drink today before the MRI.  Riding there with no food or coffee was not my idea of a good time.  Luckily the MRI was over quickly, and I grabbed a coffee and a snack from the hospital coffee shop before heading out.  The dreaded caffeine headache hadn’t had a chance to take hold yet.

After riding to work and home, I had 26.2 miles for the day.  The hospital is a bit closer than my doctor’s office.

I’m slightly worried about “it” on/in my liver.  It could be nothing.  It probably is nothing, but my liver is necessary for processing copious quantities of beer.  Please let my liver be okay.

Car-Free and Planning

Living without a car requires extra planning.  I know I still have my truck, but I haven’t driven it in quite a while.

I needed to get pet supplies today.  That means towing the trailer to work and stopping by Feeder’s Supply on the way home.  I don’t generally tow the trailer with the single-speed, but the LHT was partially disassembled last night.  I hadn’t planned.

I put the LHT back together last night, and did a rush job of getting the trailer ready this morning.  The morning commute was uneventful.  Parking the bike & trailer at work is a little troublesome.  It still goes in my office, but I have to step over the trailer when getting up or down.  I may disconnect it and put it somewhere else next time.

After work I bought a 38.5lb back of dog food, two 20lb bags of cat litter, and a 10lb bag of cat food.  That totals 88.5lbs of stuff.  With the weight of the trailer, I was towing over 100lbs.  That doesn’t count the commuting load in the pannier and trunk bag.

The ride home was slow and easy on side roads.  Even the slightest hill meant using a low gear and going slow.

Buying this cheap, used trailer has greatly increased my carrying capacity.  I don’t think it’s ideal, as I’d rather use a Big Dummy, but this was much cheaper.

Back to Work

You remember that depression I was having?  It’s gone.  Depression?  What depression?

I think getting out of the hospital just made me so happy that I’m still overflowing with happiness… even though my vacation is over and I went back to work today.

I was beginning to get a bit worried about my digestive system again today.  There was pressure building up.  However, I’m happy to report that “everything has come out okay” this evening.  I do have a doctor appointment in a week to hopefully figure out what happened and how to avoid it.

I was sore today.  My legs hurt from the riding I did this weekend.  I didn’t do a lot of riding (80 or 90 miles over two days), but much of it was at a faster tempo than I’m used to and I was riding the single speed.

I had a massage after work, but I still have one muscle in particular that is bugging me.  Oh well.  It’ll loosen up.

I’m riding the LHT tomorrow.  I need to haul the trailer to pick up dog food.  I’ve done that with the single-speed, but it’s generally not a good idea.  There is no totally flat way to get home from Feeder’s Supply.

Living without a car takes more planning.  I’m prone to laziness and procrastination.  I’ll adjust.

Under 230 Again – Two Days in a Row

Yesterday and today my weight was 229.2.  I last went out to eat (or drink beer) on Monday.  It’s nice to see almost immediate results.

I almost drove to work yesterday, but I am short on money and didn’t want to pay for parking.  If I’m going to sell my truck, driving to work can’t be an option.

I feel better today and I’m looking forward to riding into work.  Given the choice, I think I’d rather crawl back into bed.  🙂

Danger!

Problems

I’ve been at risk of undoing much of the health improvements I’ve done over the last four years.  My eating habits are not only directly unhealthy, but not great for my mental health with the self-loathing I feel after a whole week of eating bad… week after week.

I’ve let myself get lazy and distracted.  I haven’t been keeping up on household chores.  I’ve basically been a mess.

I’m going to refocus.  I’m weighing myself again.  I haven’t started posting it again because the page is crazy with too much data.  I’ll find a better way to present it soon.  My weight this morning was 236.4lbs.  That’s higher than it’s been since October of 2008.

I need to stop going out to eat so much.  Going out for pizza or a burger and a beer three or four times a week is not only working against my goals, but is costing too much money.

Today, I cooked a pork chop on the grill and had celery sticks.   I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  It was a sensible size portion and I drank water with it.

More Goals

In December 2008 I listed a few secondary goals.  I just revisited that.

  • Learn to ride a unicycle (next year)
    I wisely gave up on this.
  • Be car-free (three years away)
    Strangely enough, I’m on track for this.
  • Either fix-up my house, or move (three years away)
    I moved more than a year ahead of the goal.
  • Meet a woman crazy enough to like my lifestyle (never?)
    I got married – we’re split up now – don’t want to say much more than that.
  • Ride a several hundred mile multi-day tour (next year?)
    Although late, I did this in March of this year.

Message From The Past

In January of 2009, I wrote something that I needed to read now.  Luckily, I do re-read my older blog entries occasionally.

I mention effort to save a life.  I was trying at the time to convince my audience that this is possible and necessary.  It turns out the audience is me in 2011.

Alright Then

If I fix my eating habits and focus more on productive activities, not only will I lose weight, but I should feel better about myself.  It’s not a cure for depression, but it means fewer bad days.

It’s strange that the things I crave when depressed (food & beer) are things that will eventually make me more depressed.  This is common.  What is it with the human psyche?

How Did I Manage a Record Month?

August 2011 was  a record bike-mile month for me.  How did I do that?

  • I did a 130-mile camping trip on the last weekend of the month
  • I spent a lot of time running errands out to the east end
  • I rode my recumbent for 70 miles by riding to the Crestwood ride 25-miler, then back home
  • I rode a 70-mile RCCS ride
  • I rode my bike to work every day
  • I had several 20-40 mile rides
  • I rode a few extra miles on the last day of the month – just to push myself to a new record

On 8/31, I rode to work the normal way, a whole 3.6 miles or so.  I left work early for a doctor’s appointment (which got me okay’d for a third epidural).

I rode the following route from work to the doctor and then home:

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Instead of taking the normal way, I took River Rd all the way to Lime Kiln.  This was flat as a pancake and I managed a 15mph average on this stretch… on the single speed.

After turning unto Lime Kiln there’s a small climb, but it’s mostly flat after that.  I stayed on that same road, although it changes names to Herr Ln then to Lyndon Ln, all the way past Shelbyville Rd and nearly to my doctor’s office.

On the way back, I took the more normal New Lagrange, Washburn, Westport route.  After meandering through the parks, I wen’t to Za’s for pizza then headed home.

After getting home, I realized I was still short of a new monthly record, so I headed back out.

I basically just wandered around.  I didn’t have a destination in mind.  I had mentioned to Tim that I might go through Indian Hills, but I never made it out quite that far.  I was still on the single-speed (actually haven’t ridden the LHT since the camping trip).  Here’s my route:

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Once I got back home, I had 671 miles, a new personal best month.  I’m going to shoot for 700 in September.

3000 Miles

According to MyCyclingLog, I hit 3001 miles for the year on my ride today with Tim.  My spreadsheet actually shows 3031.7, but I still crossed the 3000 mark today.

I’m a bit behind schedule compared to last year.  At the end of July lat year, I was at 3202 miles and ended up with 5087 miles for the year.

Now that my neck isn’t preventing me from riding and I’m living the car-free lifestyle (even though I haven’t yet sold the truck) I expect to surpass 5000 miles for the year again.

So what should my goal for 2012 be? 6000?  7500?

30 Miles of Utility Riding

I rode 30 miles on the single-speed today.  I bought a new smaller set of panniers that are just big enough to put the laptop in one, and clothing in the other.  This makes the single-speed a less awkward rig.  It was silly with the huge touring panniers on it.

I rode to work in the rain.  It actually felt nice.  I had an appointment to ride to and had to leave work early.  It was out by Shelbyville & Hurstbourne, not exactly a bike-friendly area.

I managed to stay off of Shelbyville Rd by traveling out Brownsboro, Westport, Lyndon, and an exploratory jaunt on Whipps Mill because I had time to spare.

I rode a similar route back into St Matthews, through the parks, then Eastern Parkway to get home.

Riding a bike around Louisville has taught me much about getting around this city.  I still have more to learn.

I still have neck pain.  Riding a bike doesn’t seem to be an issue at all anymore.  Sitting in a chair sometimes is though.  Sitting in a reclining chair helps, but then I get to look lazy at work.

I did go out for pizza with Kristy after I got home (she made me shower first).  We drove, as that’s the only way for us to travel together.  She is moving out soon, but we still enjoy spending some time together.

I don’t have any pictures from today’s ride.  I’m not posting the GPS track.  I’m mostly just rambling and enjoying riding my bike.

Over the Hump?

I just had a spam comment for electric toothbrushes.  Do I have bad breath?  Probably, I just came home from a few beers.

Although I can’t complain about the weather compared to what Pondero has gotten in Texas recently, we’ve still had a heatwave.  It seems to have ended this week.  We won’t be seeing 90 again for a while.  It’s been in the high 70s on the ride into work.  I love it!

Kristy signed a lease, and will be moving out soon.  This is both a relief, and scary at the same time.  I thought I spent enough time living alone after my first divorce, but I guess not.  Living alone will be hard, but necessary.

I’ve been riding the recumbent a lot.  It’s my main commuting machine due to my neck issues.  I still ride my other bikes though.  I pulled the single-speed out of the basement today.  It’s got issues with the freewheel, so I flipped it over to fixed gear.  The short ride I took felt very different.  I may commute on it that way a few times.

I’m in a strange spot.  I was ready to look for a new job a few months ago.  Now, I tolerate the job, and need to cope with everything else.  I’ve been more productive at work, and less productive at home.  <sigh>  I wish it were easier.

I do feel like I’m getting closer to being in control.  I also know that something else could come out of the blue….  I guess I cope my riding.  It’s my escape.

Hilly Saturday

I took a couple of vacation days so that I could have a four-day weekend.  I need to get housework and yardwork done, yet I also want time to ride my bike.

I spent Friday running errands and doing housework.  I was determined to get a good ride in on Saturday.

I didn’t get up early on Saturday.  Once I was up, I spent a lot of time nursing a cup of coffee.  I finally decided to ride the LBC ride out of Crestwood at 3:30.  It’s a hilly 25-mile ride.  The challenge?  It’s over 20 miles away, and I didn’t want to drive.  If I’m going to live without a car, I should get used to it now.

There was a chance of rain, and the sky often looked as if it would rain.  The LBC will often cancel for rain.  I decided to ride to Crestwood, and risk having the ride cancelled, as I would still have the round-trip to Crestwood either way.  It never did rain.

I decided to take a rather direct route.  I headed out Brownsboro Rd until I was “outside” the Gene Snyder Freeway (I-265).  I then cut down Chamberlain Ln to Westport Rd.  Next time I’ll take Westport directly.  The 4.5 miles of Brownsboro between the Watterson (I-264) and the Snyder was quite unpleasant.

Closed restaurant along Brownsboro Rd
Closed restaurant along Brownsboro Rd
Westport Rd wasn’t bad.  It eventually took me to Rollington Rd, which is a peaceful low-traffic road.

A break along Rollington Rd
A break along Rollington Rd
Rollington Rd dumped me back out onto Ballardsville Rd, or Hwy 22.  This was the worst stretch of road I’ve ridden yet.  Many cars passed way too closely.

After a few miles, I came into Crestwood and to Bluegrass Bicycle where the ride starts.  I arrived early, so I spent some time looking around the shop.

Tom was there, but wasn’t riding.  That meant I would be the only recumbent rider.  I met James, who would be the ride captain.  That means James gets to stay back with the slowest rider.  I’m often the slowest rider on this ride, but sometimes a rider will show up who is even slower.  That didn’t happen this time.

The ride starts with a nice downhill, so I had a strong start.  Once I had to fight gravity, I fell toward the back of the pack.  James took my lack of climbing ability with good grace.  He’d pull ahead on the climbs, waiting for me on the long climbs.  I’d race him on the descents, sometimes winning.  Then we’d attack another hill at 30mph, but my speed would drop off much quicker than his once we really started up the hill.

When I first fell back toward the back of the pack, there was a woman keeping about the same pace.  She seemed quite fit, and was a runner.  She was struggling to keep up.  James noticed her tires were low.  We pulled over and inflated them to the proper pressure (with my pump – no need to waste co2).  She left us behind once she wasn’t held back by squishy tires.

I struggled on, and as I neared the end of the ride, I was really going slow uphill.  At the final climb, I finally had to get off and walk.  That was embarrassing.  I’ve ridden that hill before.

We arrived back at Bluegrass Bicycle and I contemplated my options.

  • Ride back to Louisville and find food
  • Get food in Crestwood
  • Call my wife for a ride home

I was quite tempted to call my wife, but I really wanted to continue riding.  I had a different route planned to get home, so at least I wouldn’t have to face the same stretch of Hwy 22 again.

I opted for the Mexican restaurant there in Crestwood.  I had one glass of beer (Dos Equis XX), four or five glasses of water, and a large burrito.  I felt much more prepared for the ride back to Louisville, if a bit sloshy from too much liquid in my stomach.

I headed north on Hwy 146, then north-east on Glenarm Rd.  Glenarm Rd was a quiet rural road.

Glenarm Rd crossing I-71
Glenarm Rd crossing I-71
Then I ran across a rather odd collection of animals.

Young goats
Young goats
They were guarded by dogs.

Dogs, goats, and a llama?
Dogs, goats, and a llama?
I took Glenarm Rd to Old Zaring Rd, then to Covered Bridge Rd, which I had ridden on during the 100k populaire.  It seemed to have more traffic this time.

Calm stretch of Covered Bridge Rd
Calm stretch of Covered Bridge Rd
By this time, it was getting to be evening.

Evening clouds
Evening clouds
This is the obligitory timed shot with the camera sitting on a fence post.

Ugh - I don't like pictures of myself
Ugh – I don’t like pictures of myself
Covered Bridge Rd took me to US 42.  It’s 4-lane highway, so I took the right lane.  I didn’t have any close passes, but several drivers let me know of their displeasure that I was on their road.  Luckily, I was on US 42 for less than a mile before turning on River Rd.

Almost sunset
Almost sunset
River Rd is another somewhat-busy two-lane road.  I tried to keep to the right.  I didn’t have nearly the problem with drivers as I had earlier in the day on Hwy 22.

Almost home
Almost home
I continued downtown and had another beer (Bluegrass Brewing Company APA) and several more glasses of water.  Then it was a short ride in the dark (I have lights) home.  I slept well.

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